I‘m really not a huge fan of the term ‘superfood’. Basically because there tends to be lots of hype and a big price tag for something that may or may not taste any good.
So I was a bit hesitant to jump on the chia seed band wagon. But my curiosity got the better of me.
And you know what?
They are pretty tasty little suckers. Combined with their nutrition credentials they’re worthwhile having around.
So today I thought I’d share some chia seed facts in case you’ve been thinking about trying them yourself…
13 Things You Should Know About Chia Seeds
1. They pack a mean nutritional punch.
A look on the back of the chia seed pack says it all. They’re made up of protein, fat and dietary fibre. Plus there’s a heap of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.
2. They’re high in fibre
So they’re going to keep you regular. And about 20% of the fiber is soluble. The beauty of soluble fiber is that it promotes a healthy digestive system by feeding the good microbes in your gut.
3. They can absorb A LOT of water.
Which means they bulk up and give you a full feeling for longer. Although if you aren’t drinking enough water, this can cause ‘blockages’ if you know what I mean… So make sure you stay well hydrated.
4. They have a crazy texture.
The seeds themselves aren’t too dissimilar to poppy seeds, nothing too crazy there. But add water and you have a completely different beast. Slimy or oozy is probably the best way to describe it. I really like it but I can see why you might be put off (don’t think about snot).
5. They come in different colours.
I’ve had black and white and apart from the visuals couldn’t really detect a difference.
6. They come in different forms.
You can buy whole seeds, chia bran, ground chia and chia seed oil. I’ve used whole seeds in the recipe below. And have been using the bran as my ‘go-to’ fiber source to have on yoghurt or in a smoothie because it’s gluten free and super low carb.
7. You can sprout them.
I haven’t tried it but remember the chia pet? Yes, if you decide you don’t like them you can always turn the rest of the packet into a member of the family.
8. They make a brilliant low carb breakfast.
I love them instead of oats in a bircher-style muesli. Use 1/4 cup chia seeds and 3/4 cup liquid such as milk, coconut milk or almond milk. If you like grated apple you can add that as well. Either soak overnight in the fridge or leave for 20 minutes if you’re short on time.
9. They are pretty expensive.
That ‘superfood’ label comes with a price tag. Definitely not for you if you’re cooking on a budget. But I’m sure as they become more widespread this will moderate itself.
10. They’re grown in Australia.
So if you’re in Oz you can support a local industry.
11. They’re high in Omega-3s
So if you’re not eating enough fish, they are a great alternative. Like the omega-3s in flax seeds, the chia omega-3s are a bit more difficult for our bodies to digest than fish omega-3s. So best to use ground chia seeds to make it easier on your body to get the goodies it needs.
12. They can be used as an egg replacer.
I haven’t tried this because I love eggs. But Sarah Wilson suggests combining 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water for each egg you’re replacing.
13. They’re not too hard to track down.
I live in a small country town and my supermarket stocks chia seeds. If yours doesn’t, try your local health food store or I’m sure you’d be able to get them online.
Chia Seed & Mushroom ‘Risotto’
I have 2 warnings with this dish. If you’re not a fan of slimy or gooey textures, this won’t be the best recipe for you. If that hasn’t deterred you, make sure you drink lots of water to keep everything regular.
Enough for 2
3-4 tablespoons butter
4 field mushrooms, sliced
100g (3.5oz) chia seeds
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 large handfuls grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
large handful baby spinach, to serve
1. Heat half the butter in a medium saucepan. Cook mushrooms over a medium heat until well browned and soft. Remove and keep warm.
2. Add the rest of the butter, chia seeds and stock to your saucepan.
3. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until the texture is oozy like a good risotto.
4. Stir in parmesan and serve the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms on top and baby spinach on the side.
no chia seeds? – Make a red lentil ‘risotto’ instead. Use (200g / 7oz red lentils and 3 cups stock).
dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with extra virgin olive oil and replace parmesan with brazil nut ‘parmesan’.
no stock - like a regular risotto, we’re really relying on our stock to provide flavour. The only thing I’d consider trying is a mixture of tomato passata and water.
carnivore – cook some crumbled pork sausages with the mushrooms.